ICC anti-doping policy August 13, 2009

BCCI turns to top legal brains for help on WADA issue

Cricinfo staff

The Indian board has sought the opinion of two top legal authorities in the country to firm up its stand against the contentious 'whereabouts' clause in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. The BCCI confirmed it has requested Goolam Vahanvati, India's attorney-general, and AS Anand, a former chief justice, to clarify whether the clause infringed on players' rights and had the potential to be legally challenged.

The ICC, meanwhile, has decided to hold a meeting of its working group on September 5-6 in Dubai to discuss India's objections to the clause, which the BCCI said violates players' privacy and posed a security threat. The decision was taken at a teleconference of the group on Wednesday night. The ICC has also informed its members that no player in its testing pool will be penalised for missing the August 1 deadline for supplying 'whereabouts' information until the BCCI has had a chance to address its concerns.

All players in the ICC's International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP), except the 11 from India, have agreed to submit to the new code. The code's 'whereabouts' clause requires players in the pool to supply information in advance on their location for an hour each day for the forthcoming quarter (three months) to facilitate testing during and outside competitions.

The BCCI has backed its players and their opposition to the clause led the ICC to form a working group to resolve the issue. This group is headed by Tim Kerr, chairman of ICC anti-doping panel, and including ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, ICC principal advisor IS Bindra and former India captain Anil Kumble, who sits on WADA's Athletes Committee.

WADA has agreed to assist in the process and David Howman, its director-general, said the agency had been involved in discussions with the ICC on the code for the last five years. "We have been engaged with the ICC for five years now," Howman told the Hindu. "The discussions started with the ICC when Malcolm Speed was the CEO. I have had occasions to be engaged at ICC meetings and certainly my answer [whether ICC was involved in the process of revising the code] is yes. The ICC has been part of what we have been trying to do for some time."

The ICC became a WADA signatory in 2006 and adopted the amended code from January 1 this year. The Indian board has suggested that they will push for a cricket-specific code and ask the ICC to negotiate with WADA to amend the testing pool selection method to include only players who are injured or have a history of doping violations. WADA has agreed to a similar amendment for FIFA, the world football body.